The Nation, 16 March 2009

nation-16-marchFrances Richard reviews recent books about the nature of photography, citing along the way several not-so-recent but extremely interesting titles.  Among these is Downcast Eyes by Martin Jay, a study of twentieth century French thinkers who have argued that vision is overrated.  Also, Michael Fried’s 1967 essay “Art and Objecthood,” in which he introduced the idea that he’s been working on ever since, that we change people and situations when we make them objects of vision and that it is dishonest of us to pretend that our making images and looking at them is an innocent activity that has no effect on anyone or anything else.   

A review of Steven Shapin’s The Scientific Life: A Moral History of a Late Modern Vocation focuses on the influence of corporate money on scientific research.  The reviewer holds that this is the most important question Shapin ought to have addressed in his history of the last few decades of science, and that it is a question he takes far too lightly. 

Gary Younge argues that only an energized Left can turn the populist impulses that the current global economic crisis has spawned into something constructive.   “The last time things looked this bad globally, we ended up with Nazism, fascism and war,” Younge points out, claiming that today’s right-wing populists are little better than their counterparts of the period after the Great War.  The most memorable part of Younge’s column for me was the story at the beginning:

When I was a student in the Soviet Union, during Gorbachev’s final months, my landlady used to take the dog out for a walk at the same time every night. Since it was winter and I am no dog lover, I decided not to join her. But when the weather cleared up I once accompanied her and found that she met several other local dog owners at exactly the same time. The timing, it turned out, was no coincidence. They called it Dog Hour–the moment when the state-sponsored news program RUSSIA-VOTEVremya came on, and they therefore left the house.



Following the news over the past few months, I have felt like taking a quick walk around the block myself. Watching global capitalism disintegrate in real time is a dizzying experience.


  1. cymast

     /  March 2, 2009

    Speaking of “the influence of corporate money on scientific research,” here’s a cartoon I made last year-

  2. acilius

     /  March 2, 2009

    I like it! Very dramatic the way the lines curve up to form the building.

  3. cymast

     /  March 3, 2009


  4. acilius

     /  March 3, 2009

    You’re welcome! You should post some drawings on the site.

  5. cymast

     /  March 4, 2009

    I will!

  6. acilius

     /  March 4, 2009

    Great! I look forward to them.

%d bloggers like this: